President Trump Invited Oregon Loggers Who Protested Carbon Cap Bill to White House

“This is a voice for rural Oregon, rural America, that we’re tired of being steamrolled, which is what a lot of the policies seem to do for us.”

Last month, news of Oregon Senate Republicans fleeing the Capitol to block passage of a bill capping carbon emissions dominated headlines, both locally and nationally.

The bill died at the end of session. And word of political sparring in Oregon apparently made its way to the White House.

Related: Senate President Peter Courtney Welcomes Republicans Back to Senate Floor, Kills Climate Bill

Last week, President Trump invited leaders of Timber Unity, some of the loudest opponents of the carbon cap legislation, to a July 8 speech on "America's environmental leadership "at the White House, Grant County's Blue Mountain Eagle reported.

The group, which formed June 21 and has over 47,000 members, posted a photo of the White House invitation to its Facebook page on July 2.

Wow....simply wow. Two of our #TimberUnity admins have been invited to the White House to meet with the President of...

Posted by Timber Unity on Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Two organizers—farmer Marie Bowers and log truck driver Todd Stoffel—were invited to Trump's speech.

The group says it advocates for rural, Republican interests and is trying to save the jobs of "working men and women of Oregon."

"This is a voice for rural Oregon, rural America, that we're tired of being steamrolled, which is what a lot of the policies seem to do for us," Stoffel told The Eagle. "The stuff that's passed is about the big cities, especially in Oregon. There are other parts of the state of Oregon other than just Portland."

In protest of House Bill 2020, Republican lawmakers—who said the bill would penalize loggers, truckers and farmers in rural Oregon—fled the state for nine days. During the walkout, loggers flocked to Salem in anger, and threats from right-wing militia groups shut down the Capitol for a day.

Related: Missing Oregon Senators Are Hiding Out in Idaho With Burner Phones

Stimson Lumber CEO Andrew Miller last month called for a boycott of all the businesses that supported HB 2020. He also donated $5,000 to Timber Unity, a group that casts itself as being grassroots.

Documents show leaders of the state's largest timber companies supported HB 2020. And advocates and Democratic lawmakers said HB 2020 was written to support loggers. Stoffel told The Eagle that the bill wasn't explained clearly enough to understand that.

"If you read the bill and you read all the legal jargon, the normal person cannot figure out what they are saying," he said. "When we were in the House and Senate chambers, they read so fast and push everything so fast, that you can't understand what's going on."